Boxing punches his way towards the Olympics.

It was one rollercoaster ride arriving for your match. How did you deal with it?
It was not easy; I had never experienced a situation like this before. I was in Hong Kong and my entry was refused due to issues with my passport so I started to panic. I thought I would probably be late for my match and feared I could even miss it all together.  I kept calm and focused and used the time to prepare for my fight mentally. I had barely any money on me so I called my coach who then contacted someone he knew in Hong Kong and the Mumbai Fighters management made their calls, worked their magic and well the rest as they say, is history... (Laughs)

Did you feel at any point that the delay would affect your performance?
Of course I did, I realised I was landing only late afternoon and had to fight in the evening. It was a risk and I was not sure my body would react. I was apprehensive as I doubted myself all the time. But I decided to fight for those people who put in all the effort to get me to Mumbai, the fight and the win was for them.

Your opponent Arslanbek Makhmudov of Dynamo Moscow is known to be tough, how did you prepare for this fight?
My coach watched several tapes and realised his big right hand was his main weapon. So the game plan was to avoid that hammer of a right hand and box clever. My strengths are my speed and athleticism so I knew I had to keep moving, use my jab and quick counter punches.

You got rave reviews for showing guts and determination, your win securing a valuable point for the Mumbai Fighters, how do you feel?
It is pleasing to know people appreciate your art. When I found out that I was fighting for the Fighters following the draft, I was excited. I knew the Indian fan base had great supporters as I had been to India in 2010 for the Commonwealth Games and that experience had been amazing. So I was looking forward to coming back. I was happily surprised to see such positive response in the press and in the media.

How was it to fight in the T-Box Mobile open arena? Was this your first time fighting outdoors?
Yes it was my first experience and I really enjoyed it. Once I was in the ring I was fully focused on my fight. I did notice the comfort of boxing outdoors however as I usually sweat a lot during fights, but in this bout I was cooled down by the gentle breeze throughout the five rounds. In retrospect it was the perfect conditions.

Coming from a rugby-mad country, why did you choose boxing? You had all the physical attributes needed to become a good rugby player.
Boxing was my calling, I played rugby but boxing was the one for me, I knew it straight from the first instant I donned gloves. It is in my blood, my father was a boxer and it just came naturally to me. The rest of my family had to be convinced at first but when they saw how dedicated I was, they knew it was the right choice. And look at me now; I am competing in the one of the world's best boxing competitions.

This story was originally posted on World series For the whole story click on this link,-grit-and-glory.aspx


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